“Catching Up With” is an interview series where we reconnect with an artist who has previously used the NoiseTrade platform and chat with them about what they’re doing now. This week we’re catching up with Kelly and Luis of the pop-punk power duo The Dollyrots to discuss the ins and outs of being smack in the middle of making their seventh album and the ups and downs of their experiences with crowdsourcing their last few albums.
You can find out more about being a part of the new album from The Dollyrots (plus see their incredible pre-order options) here: https://the-dollyrots.myshopify.com/
Also, be sure to check out the new Resting Happy Face EP from The Dollyrots on our site here: https://noisetrade.com/thedollyrots/resting-happy-face-demo-ep
NoiseTrade: First off, I’m extremely excited that you all are already in the process of making a new album. Your creative work ethic is insane and such a cool benefit for Dollyrots fans. Before we get in to chatting about the new album, I wanted to ask you where that tireless creativity comes from and are there any specific artists whose unrelenting work ethic or creative output you admire or relate to?
Kelly Ogden: Oh man, thank you! We definitely help push each other when it gets tough but it really is for our fans. We interact with them daily and knowing they care and are receptive to new stuff makes us want to keep making more. It’s no secret we’re friends with Bowling for Soup, so watching Jaret do “ALL THE THINGS” has definitely shown us that you’ve gotta work. We also say “yes” to everything!
Luis Cabezas: We’ve also been lucky enough to tour and associate with several artists that have insane longevity – Joan Jett and Buzzcocks to name a couple. The common thread with anyone that lasts in the rock world is to never stop working, always keep moving forward, even if it seems like tiny steps at a time. Your efforts all add up over time. Be like a shark, never stop swimming!
NT: Alright, into the new album… After almost two decades of bandom and a handful of studio albums under your collective belt, what are some of the signals that let you know it’s time to start the process of making another album? Was there anything special this time around that kicked things off?
Ogden: Well, for the two albums before this one – Barefoot & Pregnant and Whiplash Splash – it was tour, get pregnant, make record while pregnant, have baby, then tour again. Which was quite the six years, to be honest! This time around it was just time. The average record cycle for us has been about two years. Not sure exactly why, but it is.
Cabezas: You just internally come to a point where new songs start to creep up into your consciousness. This last time around it was at the end of the final U.S. tour for Whiplash Splash. We got home and thought to ourselves “what’s next?” It’s not really intentional at first. You’ll just wake up in the morning with an idea in your mind, almost as a way of coping with the fact that the previous record doesn’t feel “new” anymore. So you just kind of try and fill that void.
NT: Where are you currently at in the overall timeline of things? Like, how many songs have you written, demoes recorded, artwork created, and stuff like that?
Ogden: We are in the final mixing stage of the music with 16 tracks down! Right now we’re trying to come up with the title, sequence, and art concept.
Cabezas: We recorded about 25 demos for the record in varying stages of “finishedness.” Some were full-on band productions that are super close to the final versions – we included a few of those in our NoiseTrade demo download. Others are basically sketches on acoustic guitar recorded on an iPhone. But we carved it down and now it’s time to sequence the 16 tracks that made the cut. We’ll probably keep 12 or 13 for the main record and save a few for B-sides or NoiseTrade exclusives. Once all the photo and art materials are together, it’ll be time to send this off to the vinyl plant. The lead time on vinyl is insanely long so that’s the first thing in the production line.
NT: You started the crowdsourcing portion of the new album with PledgeMusic but have recently transferred everything over to Shopify. What are some of the ups and downs you all have experienced with crowdfunding over the years?
Ogden: Well… we have loved making music with our fans via Pledge the last few albums but while we were in the studio some issues with Pledge came to light and we had to pull the project. We quickly built a site with all the same preorder exclusives on Shopify and are almost right back where we started in terms of funding the record! That said, it can kind of break the mood sometimes to pull out the phone and record while writing or recording but in the end we are always so happy to have it all documented. As a fan of other bands, I feel like I care more about the music when I see where it comes from. It’s better all around. It can also be scary to let half-baked ideas out but that just makes things more exciting.
Cabezas: As long as we remember to film snippets here and there, that usually ends up being enough for the updates. It just needs to capture the general mood, no need to treat it like a documentary. We try to keep video edits and stuff to a minimum and keep things spontaneous. I think people appreciate that honesty.
NT: As someone who has looked at countless crowdsourcing campaigns from a variety of artists, it’s so clear to see that The Dollyrots are in rarified air when it comes to how much thought and care you put into the pre-order store items. Tell us a little about the process of creating things like retro lunchboxes and enamel pin sets and the personal connection of things like custom guitars and polaroids.
Ogden: This is our fifth time crowdsourcing a record, so we know fans are looking to be a part of the process and to contribute in a way above and beyond buying the music. When we started out, we definitely checked out what other people were offering and now there are things we always include like the lunchbox with home baked treats, acoustic song dedications, phone calls, and lots of one-of-a-kind things. But we’re always thinking about how to make it better. That goes for everything we do, you know?
Cabezas: For the album items, we just try to put ourselves in the position of a fan. What would I want if my favorite band was offering a bunch of wacky personalized stuff? How about a lock of their hair? We did that!
NT: Finally, congrats on the recent premiere of the TV show Schooled and its theme song (“Those Were The Days”) from the Dollyrots/Bowling for Soup mash-up band Jaret and Kelly. Since the show is set in “1990-something,” I wanted to close things out by asking you what ‘90s album you would’ve loved to be a part of and which ‘90s music video would you have loved to be in?
Ogden: Oh man! That’s not really hard at all. The tippy top choice would be “Pussy Whipped” by Bikini Kill. The video though… “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. It was at the perfect time in my life.
Cabezas: My favorite ’90s album by far was In Utero. It’s just so ugly, raw, and real. In fact, we purposely just recorded the new album at the same studio: Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, MN. Our music isn’t ugly but we thought maybe the music spirits would lend us some rawness and realness by cutting it there. That place definitely has a “feel” that I think comes through in the new material. For a video… probably “Basket Case” by Green Day. Because as teenagers we could completely relate to insane asylums and punk rock.